Friday, April 25, 2008

10:05 PM

Review Part 2: Lenovo Thinkpad X300

Edit 1 (27/4 9.25am): Refined certain phrasings.

As promised by my previous review of the Thinkpad T61p, I will cover this latest addition to my dream list. The Thinkpad X300 was released on 27 February 2008 and it has continued to wow many people worldwide. It has been touted as a Macbook Air killer by some but I leave that to you to decide.

The X series for the Thinkpad product line is targeted at ultra-ultra-ultra mobile professional. Being the latest model in this family, one can expect no less from this 1.5kg baby(with DVD burner and 6-cell battery). This is unlike the T series which is performance-driven. So before we begin, lets have some pictures to whet your appetite.

Full frontal view. (Obtained from geek.com)

Need a real life-size comparison?
These chopsticks say it all! (Some guy at hardwarezone did this)


Here is a short 2min video by CNET.

Having seen all that, I'm sure all of you are pretty eager to know what lies inside the hood, so here are the basic specs for the Singapore model. See this Lenovo's PDF flyer for full specs and product introduction.

CPU: 1.20GHz Intel Core 2 Duo L7100 800Mhz FSB 4MB L2
Graphics: Intel GMA X3100
RAM: 2GB (4GB Max) 667Mhz DDR2 SDRAM PC2-5300
HDD: 64GB Samsung Solid-State Drive (SSD)
DVD: Ultra-thin Dual-Layer DVD burner
Audio: (Intel High Definition Audio, I presume)
Connectivity: Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11a/b/g, Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR
Screen: 13.3' WSXGA Wide XGA+ TFT 1440x900 widescreen
OS : Windows Vista Business/Ultimate or XP Professional

The most exciting feature of this is the 64GB Samsung SSD. Unlike a conventional spinning magnetic hard disk drive (HDD), a solid-state drive does not have any moving mechanical components. This greatly boosts the ruggedness of the HDD. The SSD also boasts faster seek times and read/write speeds. Similar to the ubiquitous flash drive, the drive is fast, reliable and consumes little power. Couple this with the magnesium alloy roll-cage of Thinkpads, you get a laptop that is tougher than most in the market. (A notable exception is the Panasonic Toughbook.) The SSD technology is partly the reason why this laptop costs a bomb.

The other features are slightly lower than the market standard. There is only so much an engineer can squeeze into such a tiny form factor (Its only 19mm thin at its slimmest point) at the current technology. The reason I stated Singapore model is because those sold overseas especially in the US include GPS and WiMax (which is not available here) features.

Given the specs, its obvious that the X300 is not for gaming. Who cares when you are a busy executive/student on-the-go? This slim beauty is enough to turn heads the moment you take it out. Well, not as many heads as the Macbook Air. But most of the "useful" features here does surpass it with only a minimal increase in size and mass.

The X300 has 3 USB ports and has most of the connections directly integrated into the chassis. The Macbook Air only has one USB port and most of the other auxiliary connections are dependent on an external adapter. The X300 has a DVD burner which is extremely commendable considering its size. Sadly, the Air does not have it, but who can blame Apple for sacrificing features for aesthetics.

I'm not the type that places much emphasis on looks so a dull-black finish will suffice instead of a "cool" white polished surface.

This laptop has also been rated Gold by EPEAT ( A company that measures a product's environmental attributes.). I quote from Lenovo's website "The X300 uses 25% less energy than previous X Series models. Energy-saving low voltage processors, LED backlit displays and solid state storage drives. Arsenic-free glass / Mercury-free displays. 90% recyclable packaging (by weight)."

The Thinkpad X300 is available in Singapore at a wallet-burning cost of S$4412. Though not as much as the fully-configured T61p, this steep price clearly shows that its only targeted at the niche market.

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